SucceedGroup - Blog
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

You now have all the boxes ticked. Your monthly newsletter is scheduled to go out on set intervals. You are creating your own unique content, posting regularly on various social media platforms and incorporating print media into your digital marketing mix. You might be wondering what there is possible still left to do? Let us look at digital campaigns and how it can benefit you.

In what way does a digital campaign differ from a newsletter?
A Newsletter has between one and four articles with a soft call to action. A soft call to action is something like Read More. It takes the reader to your blog to read more about the topic.

A newsletter is informative and shares insightful content with the reader. A digital campaign focusses on only one topic with a hard call to action. An example of a hard call to action is ‘schedule an appointment today!’ A digital campaign therefore focusses on creating awareness about a topic i.e. a specific service or addresses a certain need that requires a direct call to action.

How and when should digital campaigns be used?
Like with all marketing activities, digital campaigns must be structured too. If you have chosen a specific focus area for the quarter, you should repeat this in your monthly campaign. For example, if your focus is on Estate Planning this month, your newsletter will typically contain an article that focuses on the benefits of having a valid written will in place. A campaign will then be sent out preferably two weeks after your newsletter with the same focus but a different angle, for example, ‘what happens if you should die without a will?’ This will ensure that the message that you are conveying for that specific month is repeated.

How must a digital campaign be compiled in terms of content?
Think of a campaign as an advertisement. It must catch your attention! Use something to attract the reader’s attention. It might be an image or the words of the heading. Create interest. Ask a question. Make a statement. The heading should be catchy and the content must be short and to the point. It must be written in such a way that it will interest and convince the reader to want to click on the call to action. Apart from focusing on a specific topic, it would be advisable to have a theme that you use for your campaigns. A theme will not only assist you to write the content but will create consistency and will allow potential clients to recognise and remember your campaigns. It is advisable to change your theme on an annual basis. Examples of a theme could be a DID YOU KNOW? or a Q&A.

What can you expect in terms of results for a digital campaign?
Products are slightly easier to advertise, because you could offer two for the price of one. You could add pictures of the product and people can click to order it immediately. In the service industry, it is a slightly different ball game. You cannot run a special on divorce this month that includes a free ante-nuptial contract next month. The focus is therefore more about creating top-of-mind awareness. Top-of-mind awareness is simply just the first brand that comes to mind when thinking of a product or service provider. By sending out campaigns you consciously position yourself in the minds of your clients and potential clients as the firm or professional of choice. The services industry is built on relationships. People buy people. It would be wise to add your or your team’s photo at the bottom with the call to action. Results also depend on the type of service you focus on. Auditing is a service that not everybody requires, whereas monthly accounting solutions might appeal to more people.

Digital campaigns are a great way to break away from the norm and mundane way of conveying information to your clients and potential clients. Make your competitors jealous and be one click ahead!

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

Why should I monitor and analyse marketing results? Is the time and money spent on this really worth it? How will the process and results benefit my firm? These are all questions regularly asked by directors and business owners.

The fact of the matter is that the process of monitoring your marketing results will help you assess whether you are receiving a return on investment, and accomplishing your marketing and advertising goals. Knowing what forms of marketing and advertising work best for your firm will allow you to improve your tactics for future campaigns.

Whether you think you have a great campaign or not is irrelevant to the fact that you should monitor the marketing results. Monitoring what is actually happening in the market versus what you originally planned, can provide priceless information with which to increase the effectiveness of your marketing activities, either within the current campaign or for the future.

Benefits of monitoring marketing results

Increased engagement with target audience – generating engagement with or responses from audiences will depend on the type of content and call-to-action. The right mix of content to the correct audience will create positive responses.

Understanding your audience
The members of your target audience, your potential or current clients, are the base on which the success of your brand is built. This forces you to know what marketing techniques are more effective on them. When you narrow down what content communicates well to your target audience, along with the time and day that engagement is highest, you can use the information to further establish your position in the market. Monitoring and analysing your marketing channels gives you the ability to measure your clients’ reactions in order to provide the most relevant content for your audience.

Improve your approach to marketing
Once you have found a marketing approach that works for your firm, you might be tempted to just let it be. However, your clients and the competitive elements of the market are not going to remain the same forever, and neither should the marketing approach you are using across the various channels. When you are monitoring your marketing strategy you can easily detect changes happening across channels and test out new approaches and methods. For your firm to be a leader in the industry, you continuously need to be monitoring your marketing efforts to improve your approach.

Stronger financial position
The moment you start monitoring your marketing, you will start to see whether your efforts are generating a profit or a loss. This tangible result will assist in delivering high levels of success from your marketing efforts. When you narrow down the aspects that make your firm’s marketing work effectively, you can spend more time and money on that and dismiss the techniques that are simply strenuous on your profits.

Setting up processes and the right tools which help you monitor your marketing results can take time and money. Before you turn away and decide to rather spend the money somewhere else, think about what you can gain – or lose.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

A well thought through and well-designed website is critical in the lead generation process for professional services firms. There are, however, a number of innovative website and online techniques to assist you in generating quality leads. By using some or all of these techniques, you can create multiple platforms to connect and engage with potential clients.

Offer unique value adding content
By creating, writing and compiling really useful information, you immediately create an incentive for existing and potential clients to engage with your brand.

Identify issues that clients and prospects are struggling with, and provide guidelines to understand and solve these problems. Aim to educate your reader, but just enough to make them want more advice and information.

Integrated content
By integrating your value adding content across multiple digital platforms, you expose potential clients to your firm, brand and expertise. Integrating content means that you make the same information available on your website (even multiple pages on your site, i.e. home page, services pages and blog page), electronic newsletters, email branding and social media platforms. The easier you make it for prospects to access unique information, the better the chance for them to request more information.

Free content or giveaways
As one of the most common online lead generating techniques, white papers can establish credibility and generate qualified leads. You can offer the white paper on your website, either available free or behind a registration screen. A variation on the white paper is the e-book. Typically, longer than a whitepaper, it serves a similar function. If your e-book goes into great depth on a subject, it can generate a great deal of buzz and establish your reputation as an expert. By giving away free content in exchange for a prospects’ contact details, you create more opportunities to generate quality leads.

Pop-up forms
Pop-up forms are a great way to generate leads directly from your website. Pop-up forms are widgets coded into your web¬site that pop up on certain pages at specific times, with the aim to get the prospect to give their personal information in order to make contact with your firm. Pop-up forms can be used to get new newsletter subscribers, promote ser¬vices, give away free content and respond to general enquiries. The pop-up form can provide real time lead generation, thereby improving your response time. It is also a great way to build a database of contacts for other digital communication.

Online Networking and Social Media
The essence of social media is not which platform you choose. It’s the quality and reach of the networking you do. While the style of interaction may vary greatly from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter, it is still about making the right connections with the right people. Online networking properly integrated with your website (visually and with regards to content integration) can produce the reputation and referrals associated with traditional business networking. Expect to get results in proportion to the level of your investment of time and attention.

Landing pages
A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result. You can use a landing page to prompt visitors to download information (i.e. white papers or e-books), receive discounts or vouchers, get free consultations or assessments, in exchange for the contact details and personal information. Landing pages can be used as highly targeted marketing platforms and can be set up to promote specific services, professionals or problems. Where your main website generally focusses on your firm, team and services, a landing page focuses on very specific issues and problems clients might have or face. Landing pages, in conjunction with Pay-per-clicks campaigns, can be a very effective lead generation tool.

All these tools are effective and inexpensive ways to turn your website into a better lead generation platform. By using some or all of these tools, you dramatically increase your chances of generating quality and qualified leads. For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben vd Westhuyzen

Attitude is a rarely discussed topic in professional service firms, but it can heavily influence your success with clients and partner relationships. In marketing, as in life, attitude is everything. Richard Bach once wrote, “Argue for your limitations and they're yours.” He was making a profound observation about attitude. In other words, if you think marketing stinks, it does. If you view it as fun, it will be.

Either way, it is a self-fulfilling belief . The wondrous thing about your attitude is that you can choose what you want it to be. You have the ability to choose your attitude as much as you choose the clothes you wear each day.

You might have all the raw talent and skill in the world, but without the right attitude you will fail to reach your potential. Too many professionals have chosen to be apathetic, if not antagonistic, toward marketing. Many professionals heartily agree that the typical professional went to professional school so they could avoid marketing. Yet there is nothing inherently evil or unprofessional about marketing. At its core, it is about forming and maintaining relationships. That is sacred.

All in your attitude. It is noticeable that a wide gap exists between a rainmaker's attitude towards marketing and that of the typical professional. For example, one professional views the suggestion to call an old friend as a clear play for business, while the rainmaker might see it as chance to reconnect with an old friend. The difference between the two is all in your attitude. It is obvious that someone who sees it as “reconnecting” is far more likely to actually make the call. Professionals frequently undergo a profound attitudinal shift during the rainmaking process.

Enthusiasm is infectious. Many professionals do not naturally start out with a great attitude toward client relationships. Firm leaders make the mistake of thinking a professional's poor attitude toward marketing cannot be changed. We disagree. A great attitude is usually highly contagious. Enthusiasm is infectious. The funny thing is you do not have to try to change someone's mind. The more we allow people to maintain their old attitudes, the less pressure they feel to defend them. What to offer instead is differing perspectives and attitudes that they find more appealing than their old views. This gentler approach usually results in a changed attitude. If you have a great attitude, share it with others freely. One of the finest gifts you can share is your positive attitude about client relationships. If you are not so inclined, find someone who is and spend more time with him or her.

Consider the proverbial story about the three stonecutters. If you ask each what he is doing, the first one will say he is just cutting stone. The second cutter will say he is making a building. The third one will say he is building a great cathedral. It is not hard to figure out which one has the best attitude. Which one best describes you?

For more information contact Ben vd Westhuyzen at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals. It's different than other social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, because it's designed specifically for professional networking -- finding a job, discovering sales leads, connecting with potential business partners -- rather than simply making friends or sharing media like photos, videos and music.

Online social networks are websites where users create personal profiles, search for "friends" or "contacts," and create extensive networks of connections. LinkedIn was co-founded in May 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant and Konstantin Guericke.

The site was the brainchild of Hoffman and Guericke, Stanford graduates who began planning their online professional network in the late 1990s [source: USA Today].

A unique attribute of LinkedIn is the ability of directly connecting you to, not only former classmates, but also former colleagues. After you have graduated from college more and more people in your network are professionals, not classmates, so LinkedIn fills this gap nicely. Once you have a presence on LinkedIn, just as you can find your former colleagues, they can also find you.

Once you fill in your profile, you are added to the database of more than 40 million users worldwide, the excellent search tools that are available on the social networking platform will allow people to easily find you.

There are many LinkedIn groups that are open for professionals to join, and by joining these groups you not only get potential access to directly contacting experts in your industry, you can also join in group discussions and read group news that is specific to your industry.

LinkedIn is not just about job seeking: LinkedIn is a professional networking site that should be utilised as a powerful tool at every step in a professional’s career. Users have the tools to leverage their social presence on the site.

Here’s how you should be driving your online presence:

- Update your status frequently and consistently:
create potential engagement with your network by sharing industry-related news articles or topics you wish to further engage in discussion.

- Make a good first impression with your profile photo:
it’s best that your profile photo features you alone. Dress appropriately for your profession, or the profession you hope to join, and be mindful of your posture and expression.

- Like, share, comment, save news stories:
connect with industry leaders, follow companies, and interact with executive recruiters.

For more information, contact Karlien Theart at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Social Media | Tagged LinkedIn
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

How often do you receive emails and then immediately delete it without opening or reading it? It takes only a few seconds to scan an email and decide whether it is worth reading or not. Although newsletters might sound simple to use there are indeed a few tips for improving yours as an effective marketing tool to ensure that it does not end up in the deleted items.

Be Consistent
Did you know that statistics show that up to 69% of users indicate that they look forward to receiving at least one newsletter and most users said a newsletter

had become part of their routine? The value of consistent frequency and a send date/time for your newsletter (i.e. every fourth Thursday at 12h00) serves to both build a sense of expectation among your audience and give yourself and us a structure within which to plan and produce a successful newsletter. Haphazard scheduling will not be effective.

Be Focused and Relevant
Decide on a content framework for your newsletter. What will the content consist of? It could be three articles that are in line with the focus areas or services of your firm and one firm related article that either focusses on a professional or team. Add a did you know or tips section that readers will start looking forward to. Are the topics you choose relevant? Think about your client and how your newsletter can be relevant and helpful to them.

Be Creative
Adding an article about staff or a fact about your firm will go to the heart of why people will want to read your newsletter. Make it interesting. It is all about relationships and adding a human factor to your news will show clients and potential clients that your firm is more than just in it for the money and technical jargon. The subject line is the first thing that your audience read and can make the difference between an opened newsletter and a deleted one. Keep it short so that the message is conveyed and catches the reader’s eye when going through many emails in their inbox. Headings of articles are critical. You can have a brilliant article but if your heading is not interesting enough it could be missed. Content and headings are therefore equally important.

Be Brief
In a world where we are bombarded with content and advertising it is important that your articles are brief and relevant. The average person spends 51 seconds reading your newsletter. People do not have time to read lengthy articles. Less is more – keep it focused without any ‘noise’ so that it is easily ‘scannable’. Do not write articles that are too technical in nature. You could bold some of the keywords to stand out where necessary. Summarise the articles to catch the attention and lure your recipients to read more on the blog on your website.

Name your Newsletter
Just like a newspaper or magazine has a name, it is important to give your electronic newsletter a name too. This differentiates you from your competitors. The name of your newsletter should reflect what your readers might gain from reading the newsletter. A newsletter packed with valuable information can cover so much ground and accomplish many things so avoid just calling your newsletter just newsletter issue 01.

Call to Actions
Decide on the call to action for your newsletter and make it easy for readers to click on them. Include phrases that will get them engaged such as “Read more” or “Share this.” Keep in mind that you do not want to overwhelm your readers with multiple call to actions. Ensure that your newsletter is not cluttered with too many links.

Electronic newsletters are very effective for keeping current clients loyal and by creating top-of-mind awareness amongst potential clients. Your newsletter should be easy to digest in both content and design. The point is to inform, educate and build a relationship with your audience to position you as the firm and professional of choice. When you get this right and you start to connect with your clients your newsletters will become an email they look forward to receiving and will readily share it with friends, family and colleagues!

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted on October 6, 2016
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

Over the last couple of years, content marketing has gone from being an addition to advertising strategies to being one of the major focus points of modern marketing. Various research has shown that content marketing has grown in such a way that almost a quarter (75%) of Professional Service Firms rate this as their number one marketing tactic.

What is content marketing? Content marketing means generating and distributing valuable free content to attract and convert your target audience into clients, and clients into repeat clients.

The Content Marketing Institute defined content marketing as follows: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. The type of content you share is closely related to what you offer as a firm. You are busy educating prospective clients (and current clients) so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

How can content marketing benefit my firm?

Increased engagement with target audience – generating engagement with or responses from audiences will depend on the type of content and call-to-action. The right mix of content to the correct audience will create positive responses.

Builds brand awareness – by communicating high quality content to your target audience you will generate higher levels of trust, authority, awareness and respect. All of this combined assists in building your brand awareness.

Increases sales – the better your target audience understand the benefits they will gain from your firm, the more likely they are to become loyal customers.

Establishes you as a leader – publishing valuable and high-quality content will establish you and your firm as experts in the industry. This will result in you influencing people’s opinions and actions.

Generates more leads – by conducting an effective content marketing campaign, all your inbound digital traffic and engagement generation efforts can deliver better results. Firms with good campaigns, websites and blogs can generate up to three times more leads than competitors without it.

Cheaper than traditional marketing – compared to other forms of marketing, content marketing can be more cost effective in delivering the results you want.

Generates more website traffic – the power of content marketing for generating website traffic is providing your target audience with relevant information to a problem/need. The more pages and posts you have with relevant information, the higher the amount of traffic your website will generate.

Produces more WOM (word-of-mouth) – WOM is one of the strongest marketing tools for any firm. Establishing your firm as a market leader through your content marketing will generate more WOM amongst your clients/potential clients and their contacts.

Go back to the top of the article and read the definition of content marketing one more time, but this time remove the words valuable, relevant and consistent. You will now understand the difference between content marketing and other informational “marketing” you get from companies and firms trying to sell products and services to you. That is what makes content marketing so fascinating in today’s environment where audiences get exposure to hundreds of marketing messages per day. Decent content marketing makes a person take the time to read and then act on the message.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

Professional services firms should have a website that not only communicates with the target audience, but also delivers high-quality leads. As technology advances and client behaviour adapts to these technologies, your website and the experience it creates should also adapt. Here are a few websites trends that can stimulate lead generation.

Responsiveness is Critical
Your website needs to be responsive.
This means that a website responds to the platform from which it is viewed. Whether the visitor is accessing the site from a desktop, smartphone or tablet, the site does not lose any of its functionality or design – only the layout adapts to the platform. More and more people access your website via a mobile platform and If their first experience is negative, you will not engage the potential client.

It’s all about the user experience
If you want to generate online leads, you need to carefully consider the user experience your website presents. Your top-level navigation should identify key sections of your site and be labelled in direct, easy to understand terms. Your site should convey a clear, compelling message that quickly allows a visitor to understand how you can help them and what differentiates you from competitors. It is not about quantity, but rather quality information. By integrating new information like articles into your home page, you can provide direct access to relevant information that addresses problems that the visitor can relate to.

Better optimisation generates better leads
As the most important online platform, your website is often the first place people go to learn more about your firm, who you are, the services you provide, how you are different and how you can help them. Optimisation refers to the keywords, specific words or phrases hidden in your website copy that people are likely to type into a search engine when conducting online searches. You therefore need to “steer” target audiences to your site by implementing appropriate keywords throughout the content of your site. Once on your website, your site should guide the visitor through the buying cycle by providing relevant content and contact details that engages them. The higher your web traffic, the better your chances of quality leads and conversions.

Provide timely and relevant content via a blog
It is important that you supply a steady flow of informative and educational content via your website. A blog page is the perfect platform to demonstrate your expertise and relevance to your target audience. If the information you provide is compelling and useful enough to the target audience, you will find that more people subscribe to your blog, and share your blog posts on their social media platforms. In this way you rapidly increase your digital footprint, as well as your visibility amongst your target audience. Increase your chances of more leads by inviting guest bloggers to write for your blog and offer to serve as a guest blogger yourself on other reputable sites. This will expand your reach and improve your website’s domain authority. Domain authority is a numeric score assigned to your website by search engines and is based on a logarithmic scale of 1-100. The higher your website’s domain authority the higher your site will appear in online searches.

Use online forms and strong call-to-actions
Your website should make it easy for potential clients to make contact with the experts in your firm who can help them solve a specific problem. By using online forms, direct telephone numbers and strong call to actions, you actively encourage visitors to engage with you. You want to encourage visitors to take action now. By using clear, emotive and direct language such as “learn more”, “send me info”, “download your guide”, “start your trial period here”, “get a free consultation” or “do you want to know more?”, you are actively engaging with visitors. Through online forms and direct telephone numbers, you can also track the engagement rate of visitors. If you can measure the engagement rate of visitors, you can manage the lead generation process more effectively. Lastly, online forms are also a simple way to grow your prospect list and database. You can collect basic information such as first and last name and email address, which allows for converting interested visitors into leads. Incentivizing the collection of information by giving away useful content like guides, e-books or white papers can turn willing prospects into prime leads. The more direct and personal the interaction the closer you are to closing a deal.

For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

Engagement is a characteristic most commonly found in rainmakers, and is the most predictive of the success as a rainmaker. Engagement is a desire to be regularly engaged in an activity, usually work-related. These people can maintain a high level of activity for prolonged periods of time.

They are uncomfortable when they do not have enough to do. Some might say they are workaholics. Others might say they have a lot of energy. The point is, these people thrive on being busy. And they integrate the various parts of their busy lives – personal, pleasure, and business.

Internal drive
Rainmakers are strongly self-motivated and committed to succeed in winning clients as a way not to be beholden to anyone, including work. Rainmakers certainly enjoy the financial rewards of their efforts, but mostly Rainmakers strive to develop clients because it is challenging, fun, and satisfying. Having the optimism to expect good results from their efforts, rainmakers are driven to make things happen and to build their companies. Optimism and a relentless drive are two personality traits that the overwhelming majority of rainmakers seem to have.

Looking beyond the matter at hand
Rainmakers see beyond the task at hand. When working on a matter, they recognise that everyone they are in contact with is a potential source for the next matter. The Rainmaker mindset is not about simply getting this current thing done. This thing is connected to the next thing. As a result, rainmakers know and understand the business of their clients, but they are also interested in their clients as people. Rainmakers connect their personal lives with business opportunities – many times without realising it. Not necessarily to “make the sale,” but because they truly enjoy interacting with people – who then turn into clients.

Engagement in personal relationships
Not surprisingly, rainmakers are adept at personal relationships, with quite a few noting that they “love people” and are “fascinated" by them. But many shared a particular distaste for cocktail parties and networking events. They focus intently on one-on-one interactions.

Solving practical business problems
Where other partners often focus on intellectual, abstract questions, Rainmakers engage with the difficult practical and business challenges that their clients confront. When asked about their strengths, Rainmakers tended to describe their decisiveness and business judgment, while other partners more often reflected on their substantive expertise and the quality of their work.

For more information contact Ben vd Westhuyzen at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

Any business – big or small – should consider advertising on Facebook. It’s a great opportunity for a company to make online sales, get a following around the brand, create a platform where customers can discuss the products and, when done successfully, let people spread the word about your qualities.

When creating a Facebook business strategy, it’s important to think through what you want to achieve. Is your goal to make ads and drive traffic to your website – perhaps a web shop where visitors can make a purchase – or do you want to drive traffic to a Facebook fan page where visitors can “like” what you do? Many businesses benefit from both, so perhaps a combination is the best choice.

Here’s four good reasons why Facebook might be good for your business:

Network and Build Relationships
Facebook might be more social than LinkedIn but you can have valuable relationships which could lead to business. To use an offline analogy, LinkedIn is the CBI, the IoD or The Rotary Club whereas Facebook is more like the local tennis club, the pub or even your hairdresser.

Recruit Talent
As part of their recruitment strategy, Ernst & Young created their first Facebook group page in 2006 to connect with students interested in learning more about careers with the global company. Now 58,967 people ‘like’ the Ernst & Young’s Facebook page. In order to create a pool of the brightest talent, Ernst & Young starts an online relationship with university students, months before they graduate.

Move up Google Rankings
Having a Facebook page for your business can increase your online visibility. A Facebook page is public so any links you put into it back to your website or blog are known as ‘do follow’ and will be picked up by search engines. By updating your page regularly with links back to your site you should move up the rankings.

Promote an Event and Engage with Delegates
Facebook allows you to invite people to an event, post reminders and carry on discussions with delegates. You can see who is going to attend your event and those who are maybes. With so many young professionals using the social network, Facebook can be an excellent way of promoting an event to would-be delegates.

When we talk to clients about social media they usually dismiss Facebook as not being appropriate for their business. But if you are working with or targeting young professionals then you should certainly be considering Facebook as part of your marketing and communications mix. And many companies now recognise that Facebook is a good platform for engaging with the over 50s as they are the fastest growing group of users.

For more information, contact Karlien Theart at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Social Media | Tagged Facebook
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

Online marketing has for many firms become the be all and end all because it is easily measured, flexible and less expensive than traditional marketing. This however does not rule out the fact that there are no offline marketing tools available to assist in strengthening the impact of your marketing success.

True effective marketing strategies use a combination of both online and offline tools to create a powerful comprehensive approach.

Let us have a look at the two most effective offline marketing strategies:

Face-to-face connections are still a valuable form of networking and will create awareness about you and your firm in an instant. It can help drive traffic to your website when your new connections are inspired to learn more about you and your firm. Being able to put a face to the name can help create a deeper sense of brand loyalty among potential clients. There are many ways to network. Consciously create opportunities and do not forget the importance of a good, old fashioned handshake.

Print Advertising
Running print advertisements is another method for getting in front of more potential customers. However, it is significantly more difficult to track the return on investment for print advertising than it is for online ads and they can often be more expensive to run, so consider your options carefully. Print advertisements are best positioned in highly targeted publications where you can guarantee members of your target audience will see your ad.

Here are a few tips on how you could integrate digital into your current print marketing strategies:

QR Codes
If possible, include a URL or a QR code in print advertisements to send visitors to online platforms. This will help you track these campaigns better. QR codes are brilliant ways of building bridges between your printed marketing and owned media in the online space. With people scanning the codes or entering the URLs on their smartphones at the same time they are consuming the printed material, not only can you drive traffic to your online campaigns but you can track cross-pollination and harvest some interesting data on your users, such as when and where they are interacting with your printed material. QR codes in particular allow you to get really creative as well and can be printed onto practically anything. Social prompts are ever-present in the corner of print advertisements.

Hash-tagged Words
Some print campaigns are even entirely digital in focus, featuring hash-tagged words. #Hashtags seem to be a weird concept, but it has actually taken off. Hashtags are topical tags that anyone can use in their digital conversations. Firms like to encourage their own hashtags so they can find out who is talking about them online. Include a hashtag wherever you mention your social media accounts, print material like flyers, brochures, newspaper advertising, or even when hosting events!

Custom URL’s
Fifty percent of your marketing cannot be tracked, unless you are using custom URLs on your offline advertising. To track offline campaigns just like online marketing, you can create custom web pages, or even full websites, dedicated to your campaign. Depending on the creativity of the campaign, you will get a certain percentage of people that see your offline ad and go to your URL customised for that page.

You should not need to choose between offline and online tools as they complement, and do not substitute, one another.

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

What is internal marketing? What is external marketing? Why is it important for me to understand all of this? For decades, marketers and directors have asked these very questions. Internal marketing is an ongoing process that occurs rigorously within a firm whereby the functional process is to motivate, empower and align employees at all management levels to consistently deliver a satisfying customer experience.

External marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling services or products, including market research and advertising to clients and potential clients. The following clearly demonstrates the difference between internal and external marketing:

Internal Marketing:
Target group is employees
Communication between firm (management) and employees
Promotional features include salary increase, transfers, staff benefits, recognition
Increase job satisfaction
Incentives are in addition to salary
Communication between firm (management) and employees
Analysis and disciplinary action is needed
Key word: Partnership
Retention of employees is vital
Requires vision and planning
Strategic and tactical

External Marketing:
Target group is customers
Communication between firm and customers
Promotional features include word-of-mouth, advertising, newsletters
Increase customer satisfaction/experience
Incentives are by way of quality service
Public relations is needed
Key word: Relationship
Retention of customers is vital
Requires control and feedback

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of external marketing (establishing your brand and promoting your firm), whereas the concept of internal marketing is relatively new. The benefits of a well-structured internal marketing plan can be of great value to your firm:
- Employees experience more job satisfaction
- Conflict in the workplace decreases
- Employee retention increases
- Assists a firm to build a customer-orientated workforce
- Better flow to internal communication
- Better compliance with standards and protocols
- Employees are empowered to make decisions
- Improved brand reputation

The only remaining question to ask is: Does your firm practice internal marketing? If the answer is NO, I suggest you start with it as soon as possible. With an internal marketing strategy, employees are treated as “internal customers” who must be convinced of a company's vision and worth just as aggressively as “external customers”. The objective of internal marketing is to align every aspect of a firm’s internal operations to ensure they are as capable as possible of providing value to clients. If a firm can operate in a coordinated and standardised way, that firm can provide a more consistent experience to their clients.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted on August 25, 2016
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

LinkedIn is by far the premier social media platform for professionals. With over 400 million members world-wide, it has become the most effective networking and online lead generation tool available.

Though many use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, old varsity friends, industry contacts and prospective recruits, the real power of LinkedIn lies in its ability to help you connect with existing and potential clients in order to generate more business. In this article, I will focus on a few basic steps to use LinkedIn as an effective lead generation tool.

Set up your profile to optimise connections
You need to make sure your profile is optimised to attract network connections. This can be achieved through a professional profile picture and by creating a tagline or title that draws attention. A good profile positions you as an expert. Your LinkedIn profile must support your expert status through carefully written headlines and keywords to clarify your expertise and specific skills. It should be complete and easy to skim and understand.

Make connections
LinkedIn is much more than a platform to connect with friends, acquaintances and colleagues. You need to connect with new contacts with the aim of generating new business. Find key connections by searching their names and hitting the “Connect’ button. Whether you have met or not, send them a personalised message wishing to connect, rather than the default message that LinkedIn sends: “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” You basically have two sentences or so to come across as a professional and explain why you want to connect with someone. Here’s what a good basic template looks like: Hi (name), I came across your profile on LinkedIn and thought we might both benefit from connecting with each other. If you’re open to it, I’d like to connect. Thanks, (your name). When you combine a professional profile with an engaging connection message, you can increase your connection rate by between 40-60%. If there’s someone that you want to connect with but haven’t met personally, see if you have any connections in common. Ask your connection to introduce you. If want to make it easy on them, you could even draft a message for your connection to use.

Send Messages
Once you have connected with key contacts, it is important to send them relevant messages in order to build a trust relationship and strengthen your credibility. There are three types of messages you can send to current and potential contacts: 1) The follow-up message – it is beneficial to send a follow up message shortly after you have connected for the first time. Thank them for connecting and invite them to join your group, should you have one (or do this in a message later on), 2) The resource suggestion – Send them an article or resource that would be useful for them and 3) The discussion suggestion – Let them know about a particularly interesting discussion point, and invite them to join in a discussion group. Carefully crafted messages can help you engage with contacts better and give you a better chance to generate enquiries and leads.

Engage in groups
By engaging in relevant LinkedIn groups, you can help build your network and generate leads. There are two ways to use groups to generate leads: Connect with targeted groups or create your own groups. LinkedIn offers such a vast number of groups. There are most probably at least a few that cater to a high concentration of your potential clients. Use the group search function to locate relevant groups and spend time getting to know the flow of topics and comments discussed there. If you see potential opportunities, begin to participate in the group, just as you would at a networking event - share your, and your firms’, content and expertise. There are various creative methods to engage with targeted groups: Ask questions to start discussions relevant to your audience and post relevant content by sharing a healthy mix of your firm’s content as well as external content. Make an effort to comment on other conversations and offer your expert opinion or experience. You can also create groups that focuses on relevant topics and invite the right contacts (i.e. potential leads) to join these groups. Be a helpful source of information and you will establish relationships with potential clients, referral sources and marketing partners — just as you would in the real world.

Get off LinkedIn
LinkedIn can help you get your “foot in the door” when targeting potential clients and generating leads. To generate sales and forge profitable business relationships, you need to move beyond the digital connection. Scheduling a face-to-face meeting, sales call or invitation to a webinar, seminar or training session, can help you convert a contact into a client.

For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Social Media | Tagged LinkedIn
Posted on August 18, 2016
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

Success as a rainmaker depends on your ability to lead masterful sales conversations from “hello” to “let us go,” but the first sales conversation, the most important sales conversation, happens before you talk to actual prospects. The most important sales conversation you have… is the one you have with yourself. To determine if you have what it takes to become a rainmaker, you must ask yourself these six questions.

How strong is my desire to achieve in sales?
The most important factor influencing whether or not you become a rainmaker is your personal desire for success in sales.

Some salespeople cannot wait to sell; others are just biding their time until something better comes along. The same is true of professional service providers. Many professionals have a tremendous desire to achieve in general, but not so much in sales (or, as it is more commonly referred to, business development.) What’s important to rainmaking success is to embrace your role in sales.

How committed am I to doing what I need to do to succeed?
Salespeople often know what they need to do—make more phone calls, lead more rainmaking conversations, deepen relationships, become experts in their fields, learn new skills, go the extra mile for customers. Rainmakers have an unassailable commitment to success in sales. Desire to sell is the first step. Committing to action and taking it—that’s the game-changing leap.

How energetically will I pursue success?
Success with rainmaking conversations is a function of how many you have and how well you conduct them. While you can always work smarter, working harder makes a big difference, too. Rainmaking conversations require a lot of work—you have to arrange the conversations, prepare rigorously, facilitate the discussion, and typically make multiple follow-up calls to close the deal.

How is my attitude?
Rainmakers do not go into sales conversations with negative thoughts or doubts. If you think the opportunity cannot, would not or shouldn’t happen for you, it would not. If you think it can, will, and should happen for you, when opportunity knocks you will be ready to embrace it.

Do I accept responsibility for my outcomes or do I make excuses?
Rainmakers succeed despite adversity. They beat a bad economy, they create conversations with difficult-to-reach decision makers, they sell something complex and intangible to someone who never even had an inkling they wanted to buy it until the salesperson came knocking. Rainmakers never fall back on excuses for why they did not prospect, did not prepare well for a meeting, and did not make those last few follow-up calls before they left the office for the day. Rainmakers know there is no one keeping them from getting it done but themselves.

Am I willing to face my sales demons?
If you’ve been honest with yourself after asking the first five questions, you might be thinking, “I know some areas I can improve.” But rainmakers look at one more area beyond the first five questions: their weaknesses. Weaknesses are not as obvious as desire, commitment, attitude and the rest. They can sneak in and derail conversations from any number of angles. Regardless of what your weaknesses are, if you are willing to examine them closely, you will be well on your way to mastering rainmaking conversations.

“Desire to sell is the first step. Committing to action and taking it—that’s the game-changing leap.”

For more information, contact Ben vd Westhuyzen at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged Rainmaking
Posted on August 11, 2016
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

Although it may seem like the stiff-upper-lip cousin of the more youthful and exciting social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn should be an essential part of your social media life, predominantly if you are a business professional. Your LinkedIn profile represents you, to the professional world.

With more than 400 million members , there’s no denying LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at an astonishing rate of more than two new members per second.

The purpose for an individual is to use LinkedIn as a way to promote yourself professionally . Whether you’re employed, or a business owner, think

of your LinkedIn page as a personal website that can be used to share your accomplishments with your connections.Think about the potential connections that are out there; a high-profile partner or client could be impressed by your work.

LinkedIn should not be used as your resume. A resume informs others what you’ve done, while LinkedIn tells viewers who you are. While sharing a summary of your past education and experience is important, it’s more vital to illustrate your value and what you can bring to the table.

In order to get the most out of it, you have to actively participate on LinkedIn and the first step is to make sure that you have a complete profile. Make sure you have a professional photo, catchy headline, contact information, a compelling summary, authentic skills and samples of your work. These will all ensure that your profile has a professional appearance, and will enable people to find you easily. Profile completeness is measured in the following categories:
- Beginner
- Intermediate
- Expert
- All-Star
Of course, your goal should be to reach the level of All-Star, which means your profile is complete.

A complete LinkedIn profile can directly benefit your business. LinkedIn gives you opportunities to link out from your profile to other sites like your blog and your company’s website, through regular posts using the right links. This is driving people, who are interested in you and your company, directly to a place where they can engage with you and hopefully make use of your business. A complete LinkedIn profile makes it that much easier to leverage all the tools that are available to you on LinkedIn. Participate in groups, send InMail, post updates.

With a complete profile, people are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and to engage with you, which is what social media participation is all about. To conclude, take a second and Google your name. What was one of the first results?

If you have a LinkedIn profile, I am willing to bet that it was one of the top results. Google just loves LinkedIn, which is beneficial for managing search results. In other words, if you met someone at a networking event and they searched for you online, your LinkedIn profile would appear. That’s a major bonus if you’re attempting to expand your network.

For more information, contact Karlien Theart at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Social Media | Tagged LinkedIn
Posted on August 5, 2016
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

The success of your digital marketing depends on a few basic factors. Let us take a look at the things you should consider and avoid.

The old saying, failing to plan is planning to fail is indeed true when it comes to your marketing activities. If you do not have a clear plan of action and continue to approach marketing in an ad hoc manner the chances of being successful is slim. Planning simply means putting out a few goals that must be achieved.

This will include stipulating the tools that you will be using, the frequency of all activities and the allocation of the budget and resources. The most important point is that the plan is documented to use as frame of reference during revision. Planning does not only help you decide on short term and long term goals, but it assists you to make decisions faster.

Be focused
Marketing will only be effective if you focus on a specific message. It takes a while for clients and potential clients to understand what you are trying to tell them. You would have noticed that a successful campaign normally lasts a while and can be found on multiple platforms. What you see on TV, you will read in the newspaper and respectively hear on the radio for a period of time. Aligning your messages to highlight specific focus areas of your firm will not only enable you to measure whether a campaign was successful, but will ultimately ensure that a clear message is being sent out.

Consistency is king
We live in an instant world of two minute noodles and drive-thru restaurants. Not achieving the same instant results in your marketing activities could demotivate you and leave you with a feeling that ‘marketing is not worth the while’. Depending on the message and type of platform you use, your campaign might not achieve instantaneous results. Branding campaigns that position your firm is especially difficult to measure. In the services industry creating top of mind awareness with potential clients is key. You cannot offer a ‘free divorce for this month’, but you can position yourself as the expert in family law, so when somebody might need the service they will choose you first. Social media campaigns tend to have a shorter turnaround time, while pay-per-click campaigns often take about a month and a half to deliver results. Think of digital marketing like a marathon and not a 100m sprint.

Marketing budgets are many times seen as an expense and firms fail to allocate a fair amount of money. While some elements can work on a shoestring budget, many campaigns require a long term investment. Allocating and distributing the money wisely is important. Digital marketing is much more cost effective and you should avoid spending money on tools that you are not confident will work for your business. A healthy benchmark to allocate to marketing is between two and five percent of your annual turnover.

Generate content
Content is the foundation of any successful digital marketing campaign. Not only will insightful information keep clients and potential clients engaged but good content will by default lead to better search engine results. Content can be visual in the form of infographics and videos.

Measure results and be flexible
Failing to measure results will not allow you to determine if the plan was implemented correctly and whether money was spent wisely. Digital marketing is so highly measurable and not static, campaigns can be tweaked and improved instantaneous after measuring results. You will therefore have to be flexible to adjust any plan when the need arises.

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted on July 29, 2016
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

Marketing plans serve as the outline for your firm’s growth and sales strategy. They contain valuable details of what you have planned for the coming months or years. It is imperative that the plan should be adaptable to changes in the market and your surroundings.

Marketing should not be set up and left alone, but rather be frequently reviewed, evaluated and adjusted to suit the needs of the firm and the wants of the customer. Every firm should have a marketing strategy in place. Determining the effectiveness of your strategy can be challenging. Strategies that work always have the following characteristics:

Your marketing strategy must be measurable
When you are working on a tight budget, your marketing needs to be effective and accurate. Evaluating your activities and adjusting if needed can save you money in the long-term. The old saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is applicable in your marketing strategy.

Your clients must have a say
Most firms never ask their clients this question and miss out on gathering valuable insights into how clients perceive their marketing. Client’s response can help you to determine what type of reactions your marketing creates and can expose which initiatives are reaching the clients.

Your competitors will respond
The activities of your competitors can often reveal the truth when it comes to the success or failure of your marketing plan. If competitors rush to emulate what you have done or hastily try to get alternative plans of their own in place, the plan is working. If your movements go largely unnoticed or there is an instant negative reaction, there may be an issue with what you have set in place.

Your marketing strategy is clearly articulated
The more challenging it is for your staff to understand your marketing strategy, the less likely they are to help you achieve your goals. You must articulate your strategy to the staff who assist you in achieving the goals. You must clearly explain the strategy in terms of the actions that the employees need to take and describe the goals that the firm wants to reach. A strategy is impractical unless there is a tactical plan for achieving each goal.

Your marketing strategy will not change much
If your marketing strategy is effective, it will not change regularly. It is always clever to notice what is working and what is not, and equally clever to quickly adjust your tactics, make corrections, and try new approaches if needed. Changes in your marketing strategy should be undertaken only when it is clear that reaching a strategic goal is either impossible or no longer needed.

Your firm’s marketing communicates to your target audience and gets the word out about what you can do to solve their issues and problems. Keep your marketing updated and relevant by evaluating it regularly and making changes or minor adaptions where needed. As you evaluate your marketing activities, you gain more and more market knowledge and insight into what really works for your firm. Use this information to make your marketing effective and efficient.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged Marketing
Posted on July 21, 2016
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The ancestor to every action is a thought.” Clearly, if our thoughts are not organised and clear, our actions won’t be either. Taking Emerson’s idea even further, mastery is not just a function of learning some tools and techniques—it’s also learning to think properly about your craft. Successful Rainmakers approach their careers differently.

The first and perhaps most striking characteristic that all the successful rainmakers have is an unclear acknowledgment (or mindset) that rainmaking is an important part of their practice.

Initially, this might appear to be an insignificant item but it clearly distinguishes the successful person from the rest of the pack. Some professionals view rainmaking as a necessary evil or a distasteful task that must be done, while others view it as key to their success and create ways to integrate rainmaking activity into daily or weekly routines. The second group understands that rainmaking is the life blood of their practice and generating business is critical to success. This mindset is palpable and the role that generating new client and business play in their success is obvious.

These professionals possess a rainmaking mindset, having internalised the importance of rainmaking and are committed to making it happen. An additional component of this rainmaking mindset is the realisation that every contact will not become a client. The successful rainmaker will understand that it will take several contacts with prospective clients to acquire a new client and the more skilled and experienced they become the better this ration will be. This acknowledgement is difficult for some professionals to internalise.

The second most noticeable characteristic of the successful rainmaker is a definable goal. These professionals have identified a goal relative to rainmaking activity. This goal is typically a type of client, number of contacts or amount of new business of something similar. The key characteristic of this goal is the fact that the successful have a definable target at which to shoot and take consistent action to reach that goal. The mindset shared by these successful rainmakers includes an understanding of the importance rainmaking plays in their success coupled with quantifiable goals, reasonable expectations and an overwhelming desire to add value to their clients. This mindset and a clear goal, more than any other characteristics, was common to every successful rainmaker.

Action or Activity
The third thing common to successful rainmakers is that they take consistent action. Someone once said that a goal without action is a dream. Successful rainmakers take action on a consistent basis to achieve their goals. This group has incorporated activity into their daily, weekly or monthly routines, designed to generate clients and promote their practices on a consistent basis.

Effectively, successful rainmakers do the activities designed to achieve their rainmaking goals on a regular basis. They have integrated these activities into their routines.

For more information, contact Ben vd Westhuyzen at
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged Rainmakers
Posted on July 14, 2016
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers. As with many new business strategies, some questions may arise to understand the implications of social media. The following are a few popular myths regarding Social Media for business:

My customers are not social
To be frank, social media is not on everyone’s radar, not yet at least. 85% of adults are online. To put this further into context, about 70% of households have satellite or cable television, is it possible that YOUR customers aren’t using social media? Plausibly, yes. But even if they aren’t yet using social media for business, chances are they are using social media in some capacity.

Social media gives people a venue to publicly bash my company
They already have a venue, and it's called the internet. Not putting up a Social Media page isn't protecting you from their wrathful angry. Instead, get ahead of the conversation by being aware that it's taking place. Social media is for creating new customers, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Social Media is a broadcast channel
At first glance, social media seems like a cheap and powerful loudspeaker. It is, in some sense, but don’t be surprised when blasting messages in one direction only generates a small amount of traffic. The trick is to get involved, this would require personal integration to your business, offering specials that lead to business, informing about the latest product or service and how to get a hold of it in an easy way, sharing the most interesting news, engaging in discussion.

Blogging is a waste of time
There is so much happening on the internet, why bother blogging? It gives you a voice and a form of control of your brand, especially if you have important news to share, the need to engage on a personal level or communicate on a consistent basis. Blogging is easy and the best way to get a head start is to find the best questions your prospects have posed and write an article that responds. The content can easily be shared and integrated on several platforms.

So my company should be on EVERY platform?
Just because you can name a lot of social networks, doesn't mean you should set up a profile on all of them. By all means, research other or all social networks. Set up a company profile or page and give it the old college try. You may find that some of them aren't really worth your time. Some businesses excel with LinkedIn; others gain awareness through Twitter alone. It all depends on your target market, the goal and purpose of the platform and marketing strategies you wish to follow.

The most important thing to remember is that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Define your audience and choose the best platform to reach them. Do your research, integrate your social media icons and links, share your (and others’) content and keep track of how things are going. Follow those steps and you’ll be positioned for success!

For more information, contact Karlien Theart at
Posted in Social Media | Tagged Social Media
Posted on July 7, 2016
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

The introduction of digital marketing platforms as part of the marketing mix for professional services firms, have radically transformed the way they brand, position and market their firms. Digital marketing done well, has the potential to dramatically increase your visibility and strengthen your reputation. One of the biggest benefits of digital marketing is the opportunity to generate real-time, quality leads. While many firms still prefer traditional lead generation techniques such as face-to-face networking, recent trends have shown a rapid change in the way buyers select professional services. To consistently generate quality and qualified leads, requires a well-crafted and executed plan. Lead generation will be highly effective when it is managed according to a plan. Your plan should address the following four aspects:

Identify and know your target clients
The biggest stumbling block for firms is that their target clients are overly broad and they see everyone as their target market. The less specific you are, the more difficult it will be to generate qualified leads. Try to identify the particular type of issues or problems you are best prepared to solve. Try to learn as much as you can about the challenges and concerns they face, where they turn for help, and what their expectations and questions are. By identifying and understanding your target market, your lead generation plan has a solid foundation on which you can build upon.

Create compelling content
OCompelling content addresses topics that are very useful to your target audience and explain it in very simple terms. I am not referring to general information on a monthly newsletter. Research has found that one of the top ways that buyers are convinced of expertise is when someone is able to explain a complicated subject in an understandable way. Don't be afraid to share your “secret sauce recipe”. The modern day buyers and users of your services have changed and expect free education and helpful information. If your firm isn't providing that education and expertise, you can be sure that someone else is. More helpfulness equals better leads. By frequently creating and publishing useful and compelling content, you and your firm will be seen as the thought leader to trust, use and refer to others.

Choose your lead generation tools and platforms to attract visitors
Your compelling content is a starting point, but you need the right tools across multiple platforms in order to generate quality leads. There are a number of highly effective lead generating tools and platforms available:

1. Responsive, optimized, lead-generating websites:
Your website has to be responsive across multiple platforms, including smartphones and tablets. A responsive website improves the user experience and makes your website more useful. A lead generating website is simple, easy-to-use and addresses core needs by linking problems to solutions via experts in their field. Search engine optimization is crucial. Studies have found that SEO was the single most effective and affordable tool for generating high-quality online leads. It works best when combined with very useful content (content that is also SEO optimized) and social media (to help share that content). Use targeted keywords or keyword phrases on your website to communicate what the content on your site is and its relevance to what searchers are looking for. Obtain high authority and relevant links to your website through outside engagements and articles

2. Landing pages:
A landing page can be any page that someone lands on after clicking on an advertisement or other online marketing elements (e.g. electronic email campaigns). It is also important to note that landing pages exist separately from your firms’ website, and are typically used as a tool for a single marketing campaign. It is very much focused on a single call-to-action, not a barrage of information regarding your business and all the products and services you offer. There are two types of landing pages: Lead generation landing pages used to capture someone’s information in exchange for something. Click-through landing pages are used to attract the visitor to the specific service that you are trying to market or sell. The goal is to educate your visitor with enough information and to create urgency that they proceed to make a purchase.

3. Social media:
Social media is not a fad. It's continuing to grow in popularity and is simply the online version of networking. If you don't have a strong presence on social media, you are missing an important communication channel to your potential clients. A very large percentage of potential buyers are checking you out on social media (e.g. LinkedIn) before purchasing. The benefits of social media are enormous, including: Increased visibility of your firm and its experts; promotes and increases the reach of your content marketing; allows your firm to stand out and builds trust and credibility.

4. Blogs:
A blog is a section in your website that contains “fresh”, relevant content in the form of posts, articles, news and any other useful information. The content can be dated, categorized and filtered in order give the visitor the best chance to find the content they are looking for. Visitors can even post comments and questions, further enhancing engagement. A well-constructed blog can be a powerful tool to attract visitors and convert them into leads.

Use your content to convert visitors into leads
Very often a hole exists between the traffic generation phase and the lead generation phase that often results in one-time visitors who neglect your attempts to capture their information and never hear from you again. You can seal up that hole with lead magnets. Lead magnets are tools that provide value for your visitors in exchange for their contact information. Lead magnets such as email opt-ins, subscriptions and social media follows are ways to fish for some sign of interest from your site’s visitors. The goal of this is to receive permission from visitors to follow up. Some examples of lead magnets include free videos or training series, eBooks, webinars, white papers or bonus tips. These free-of-charge educational tools will confide your visitors in your offering, allowing you to both obtain their email address and educate them on your business.

Having a solid lead generation plan gives you a sustainable advantage. Well-targeted, clearly differentiated, obviously more value… sounds like a formula for better leads.

For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at
Posted on June 30, 2016
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

Shopping for that specific set of spanners or additional brush for your make-up kit might seem like a less daunting task than choosing the appropriated tools for your firm’s digital marketing mix! It is not possible to overemphasise the importance of being visible online and the effect that it will have to the success of your business. The firms that essentially stand out are the ones that consciously add new tools to their digital marketing mix. Let us look at the basic non-negotiable options that are available with some suggestions to help you simplify the process.

Unique content
It forms the basis and is the very first tool you should not hesitate to invest in. As a professional, by producing your own unique content it shows you are up-to-date, dynamic and an expert in your field. Content is highly adaptable to address various target groups and fit different platforms. It is easily shareable by current and potential clients. Good content means more engagement, which in the end helps to build your firm’s and personal brand. Without content your marketing mix is lifeless.

Electronic newsletters
It is the most effective marketing tool that you can use and highly effective for communicating with clients and driving traffic to various online platforms, including your website. It can be tracked and will deliver valuable insights such as open rates, bounces and click-through that will allow you to gauge what type of content your readers engage in.

Responsive website
Gone are the days where people only visit your website occasionally during office hours. People search for almost anything continuously on-the-go, at the gym, in front of the television and at night. Having a responsive website is therefore a tool that cannot be ignored. People have less time to find things online and the perception that an old static non-responsive website will leave potential clients with the question whether the firm and its professionals are also outdated with their skills and knowledge. People do not have the time or patience to scroll and click through many pages and tabs. If they cannot find answers within 30 seconds, the chances of your website being closed is very high. Your website is the ‘mall’ where you want people to come to – to read and interact with your firm.

Social media platforms
A strong digital marketing toolkit will incorporate a minimum of two social media platforms that is appropriate to your firm. Social media has the power for content to go viral and for you to connect and share news and events in real time. Just as you might prefer your coffee without milk, so do your clients prefer using their social media platform of choice. Some people read the content on Facebook while others enjoy LinkedIn. With a generation that was born into an online age, being active on social media is part of who they are. If you do not ‘speak their language’ and ‘feed them’ with information of the products and services you offer on the platforms they are familiar with, chances are that your firm will never even become an option let alone a choice.

Target audience
Imagine arranging a concert with the best sound equipment and performers without having an audience. In the same way you could have the best content and be visible on all platforms, but without having a database, community, followers or connections, it will be of no use. It is therefore important to consciously focus on building your audience on each platform with a plan. This will enable you to keep in touch with current clients and offer you the opportunity to sell them complementary services.

In the end it is not about using just one tool, but a mix of tools that will ensure your firm has an effective presence online. Being structured and consistent in your approach will keep your firm’s message and brand ‘’out there’’ in front of your target audience. By ensuring that you have these few non-negotiable tools in your marketing mix as a basis will give you a chance to make an impact online.

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at
Posted on June 24, 2016
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

What is the Marketing Mix? How does it influence the way I do business? These are questions regularly asked by business owners and directors. To understand the complete concept of the Marketing Mix, let us briefly look at the definition of the Marketing Mix.

The Marketing Mix is a combination of the different elements of marketing that firms use to communicate their organizational and brand message to customers. The traditional Marketing Mix consists of the 4P’s, whereas the Service Marketing Mix is expanded to the 7P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion (Traditional Marketing Mix), People, Process and Physical Evidence.

The Service Marketing Mix, also known as the Extended Marketing Mix, treats the service that the firm offers just as it would treat a product. While the first 4P’s are involved in product marketing too, the remaining three P’s focus mainly on service delivery and improving customer satisfaction.

Elements of the Service Marketing Mix:

This refers to the actual item being sold to the client, whether it is an intangible service or a physical product. Unlike a product, a service is intangible and cannot be measured in terms of look, feel and other qualities present in a product. A service can however be customized to give a personal touch and suit the user requirements.

The pricing strategy for services is difficult to achieve unlike in products. While the latter can be priced effortlessly by taking into account the raw material costs, in case of services attendant costs - such as labor and overhead costs - also need to be factored in. Price is a very important component of the marketing mix definition. It is also a vital element of a marketing plan as it determines your firm’s profit and survival.

In the case of services, place will determine where the service is going to be located. Since service delivery cannot be stored or transported, the location of the service product is of utmost importance. The success of this comes with a deep understanding of your target market. Understand them inside out and you will discover the most effective positioning and distribution channels that directly speak with your market.

Services are easy to replicate and hence it is generally the brand which sets a service apart from its competition. Because competition in the service sector is usually high, promotions are a necessity to survive. Service providers offering identical services should invest heavily in advertising their services and brand. This is crucial in attracting customers in a segment where the services providers have nearly identical offerings.

People are the most important element of any service or experience. Your firm is not just built on your goals, firm’s vision and principles, but also depends heavily on your employees. Many firms these days are involved in specially getting their staff trained in interpersonal skills and customer service with a focus towards customer satisfaction. In fact, some firms have to undergo certification to show that their staff is better than the rest. This is unquestionably a USP in case of services.

The process of service delivery is vital since it ensures that the same standard of service is repeatedly delivered to the customers. For a firm to thrive on their good service, they need to have confidence in their service delivery processes. Therefore, most firms have a service blue print which provides the details of the service delivery process, often going as far as defining phrases to be used by the service staff.

Physical evidence
Since services are intangible in nature, most service providers strive to integrate certain tangible elements into their offering to enhance customer experience. Physical evidence is used as a differentiator in service marketing. Take an example of a dentist who only has chairs and tables in the waiting room and good service, or a dentist who has ambient lighting, nice music along with magazines and newspapers to read and also good service. Which one would you prefer? That is physical evidence.

The Extended Marketing Mix touches on almost any issue that could arise when offering a service or product. Whatever industry field you conduct your business in, ensure to create the best possible Marketing Mix for better customer satisfaction.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at
Posted in Marketing Strategy | Tagged
Posted on June 17, 2016
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

If you want to grow your professional services firm, you have two options: attract more new clients or get your existing clients to spend more money. The latter can be achieved through regular client interaction and intentional up-selling. To attract new clients, however, is a bit more challenging. It boils down to generating quality and qualified leads by using innovative lead generation tools. A lead is basically a prospect that has some level of potential in becoming a client. A qualified lead is a prospect that meets all of your firm’s qualifications and criteria necessary to be considered more likely to become a client. Lead generation is the process and tools used to initiate consumer interest or inquiry to the services your firm offers. Firms that have a desire to grow need to pay attention to the tools they use to attract genuinely interested prospects.

1. A lead generating website
A common mistake that most firms make is treating their website like an online brochure. Your website must give them a compelling reason to enquire about your services, your firms and its specialists – so much so that they will be willing to make contact in order to have their specific needs met. As the name implies, lead generating websites are meant to generate and nurture new business leads. A lead generating website ticks the following boxes:

Optimized content
Optimized content finds an even balance between conveying information that potential clients want and information that Google needs to connect you to those potential clients. Clever page headings, descriptive body copy and meta descriptions that motivates prospects to click, all contribute to generate leads.

Quality content
When it comes to content, more is better and better is better. Good quality content presents the reader/user with useful information that builds trusts and is relevant to their situation. FAQs are a great way to accomplish this, with quick links to even more detailed content on that particular subject.

Offer a great mobile experience
If you do not have a website that is optimized for mobile, then you are letting leads slip through your fingers. You need a mobile friendly website, since it is far more likely your services will be needed when a mobile device is the only convenient one at hand. Mobile friendly sites make it easy for potential clients to phone or email your firm.

Improve local searches
Local search is becoming increasingly important when trying to improve the ranking for your firm’s website on Google and other search engines. After all, someone searching for a law firm in Cape Town will not care about a lawyer in Pretoria… and Google knows that. Google is all about delivering relevant search results to its users, hence the importance of doing whatever you can to rank well for local search. Setting up Google geo-locators will make it easy for potential clients to find you – close to where you are.

Fast and easy to navigate
A website that opens up fast and is easy to navigate improves the user experience. The faster a visitor can find what they are looking for, the more likely they are to make contact so that you can meet their specific need.

Update photography and improve your bio page
Every professional on your website should have a current photo and an updated, narrative biography. Your biography should focus on your skills and the needs you can meet. Include links to your email address, LinkedIn profile and direct phone line.

Strong call-to-actions
A lead generating website makes it as easy as possible for potential clients to make contact with you. Every page should have a section where the visitor to your site can email or call you directly. Online contact forms also make it easy for visitors to make direct requests about services. Opt-in content offers are also very effective lead generators. Specific content (e.g. e-books, whitepapers, research reports and guides) is made available to visitors willing to provide their contact details.

Social proof and customer reviews
A website that offers social proof that a firm can be trusted, delivers on their promises and offers value for money, can do wonders for the credibility and reputation of a firm. Customer reviews are a great way to turn a visiting (often hesitant) prospect into a quality lead.

2. Blogs
Many professional services firms don’t understand the true function of a blog. A great blog is written with the client in mind – which means the content is more about them and for them as it is about you. Great blog content helps prospective clients solve a problem. Great blogging is based on a content strategy that disseminates regular, timely and contextual content to your specific target audience. Blog content can be articles, tips, frequently asked questions, videos or otherwise. Useful content offered up for consumption on a regular basis increases client leads.

3. Landing Pages
A landing page is a single web page designed with a single objective: Convert a website visitor to a lead. By designing, creating and posting landing pages as part of your website, focusing on specific problems or services, you are showing empathy for the prospective client because you’re providing very specific content to address their needs or problems. Landing pages on your website answer the specific questions your prospects are asking while providing an opportunity to connect directly with the professionals who can assist them. Where normal websites generally focus on the firm and its services, landing pages zooms in on specific problems and gives the visitor a specific solution.

4. Electronic email campaigns
An electronic email campaign is a digital campaign where the firm uses a bulk email platform to make a specific service offer directly to a database of existing or potential clients. The offer can be hard or soft. A hard offer is typically an offer for a service that usually requires the prospect to act immediately. Often times these offers are limited to a few people or may have an expiration date. A soft offer usually doesn’t require an immediate response. An example of a soft offer is an email newsletter subscription or access to unique information. A well timed electronic campaign, integrated with a website landing page, strong call-to-actions and social media platforms, can create urgency amongst existing or potential clients to engage with you and request immediate assistance with a particular problem.

By using a mix of the afore mentioned tools, you can ensure a steady flow of incoming leads into your firm. With a solid lead nurturing plan in place, these leads can become new clients and contributors to the growth of your firm.

For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at
Posted on June 9, 2016
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

On LinkedIn, the basic type of connection is a contact you know personally and who you trust on a professional level. Once you've "connected" with them on LinkedIn, you are considered a 1st-degree connection.

The people who are part of your network are called your "connections."
You can ask someone to join your professional network by sending them an invitation to connect. If they accept your invitation, they'll become a 1st-degree connection. It is suggested that you only invite people you know and trust because 1st-degree connections are given access to the primary email address on your account.

You also have an extended network of connections made up of people that your connections know. Your communication options for your extended network vary based on how closely connected you are.

You can invite people to connect from:
-A member's profile - Click the Connect button on their profile page.
-Search results - Click Connect to the right of the person's information.
-The Add Connections page - Search your email address book to find contacts or invite them using their email address.
-The People You May Know page - Click the Connect button under the person's name.

Here are some things you can to do with connections:
-Control who sees your Connections List.
-Interact with and learn more about your connections.
-Tag them for your own tracking purposes.
-Send them messages.
-See their updates on your homepage.
-Edit contact info you may have for them.

Here are some common concerns about connections:
-differences in connection counts
-missing connections
-removing a connection & notification of removal

Sometimes, all it takes is one connection to start your career journey.

A connection on LinkedIn is different than a "friend" on MySpace or Facebook. Connections imply that you know the person well or that they're a trusted business contact. LinkedIn warns against adding complete strangers to your network, or accepting an invitation from someone you don't have a trusted relationship with.

For more information contact Karlien Theart at

Posted in Social Media | Tagged LinkedIn, Social Media
Posted on June 2, 2016
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

A Being a client yourself, you must have experienced the vast increase in the number of products and services that have recently become available online. The digital age is always changing and extremely fast. The internet is without a doubt continuing to dominate our daily lives.

Therefore, as professionals or business owners, keeping up-to-date with changes has become even more important. Online visibility simply means – how easy or difficult is it for your clients to find you or your business on the relevant online platforms.

Traditional advertising on television, typically interrupts the viewer with a commercial to deliver a message. The ‘potential client’ is therefore in a passive state whether the service was appropriate for them or not. The internet, however, has a much more active approach and works under the assumption that clients are specifically seeking your service. Let us briefly look at the options that are available to increase your firm’s online visibility:

Social media
Over 80% of people have active social media accounts that are used daily. With the amount of people active on various platforms it would be irrational to disregard the potential social media marketing holds. Social-media campaigns are non-intrusive as people need to connect or follow you before being able to receive updates. Once somebody follows or likes you the possibility of sharing it with others come into play. Knowing when to post and what content to use is the secret when running a social media marketing campaign. Quality content is your number one tool in building a good online presence. This will promote sharing and even potential purchases. When posting content, you should focus on the emotional impact, format and visuals that appear in your post. Focusing on relevant keywords and images can help your social media page garner a higher SEO if done correctly.

A marketing plan aligns your marketing with your business goals and objectives
There are various mediums through which your firm can engage in marketing. With so many options available for your firm to engage with the target audience, the trick is to know which ones make sense. A sound marketing plan will help you determine what should be done and what should be ignored. This will keep your employees focused on work that matters - work that accomplishes your firm’s goals and objectives.

Search engine optimisation
– People tend to form their perceptions by associating a firm’s online image with its overall professional image. Having an outdated and static website that does not even appear on the first page of a search engine is detrimental. Search engine optimisation (SEO) will be the key to ensure that your website receives more traffic and appear higher up. Clients do not want to click through multiple sites before finding the right service. SEO is intertwined with content marketing.

Content marketing
The most innovative way to marketing and an effective way to drive online traffic is the promotion of your firm through content. Content marketing is about providing useful and relevant content to an audience while promoting the reputation and recognition of your brand and the services you offer. Effectively creating blogs and other content marketing material will ensure that you attract more traffic.

Responsive website
If your website is not responsive and takes too long to load, you will very likely have a hard time retaining a constant flow of increased traffic. People have increasingly less time. Being able to find or share something by the click of a button has become the norm.

Pay-per-click advertising
Targeting potential clients through PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns like Google AdWords will boost your online visibility. You will only pay for the advertisement when somebody clicks on it to visit your website. This is a good way to drive potential clients to your website, instead of waiting for visitors to reach you naturally. PPC campaigns offers highly analytical results to assist you in adjusting your approach to be even more effective.

You might have heard of the old saying publish or perish, but in today’s technological society where everything is connected, not being visible online as a professional or business means that you might as well vanish! The best quality your firm can have is by being easily “findable” online.

For more information contact Emmerentia Fick at
Posted in Social Media | Tagged
Posted on May 25, 2016
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

A marketing plan is an essential tool for your firm. The purpose of a marketing plan is to map out the decisions you have made to determine the future success of your firm. And any firm, of any size, will find that invaluable. It is definitely true that marketing planning and strategy are far more a part of larger firms than of smaller ones, but that is no reason why a smaller firm can’t benefit from a similar approach.

Developing a marketing plan will help you think about what makes your firm unique and how to get the message out to preferred audiences through a variety of channels. You will determine clear objectives, timescales and a budget. One of the greatest benefits of developing a marketing plan is that it helps you to focus your resources and plan for your business’ growth.

There are various benefits of having a marketing plan in place:

A marketing plan promotes effective decision making
What segment of the market should you target? Are your prices right for your market? Should you use different mediums of communication? Making marketing decisions for your business can be overwhelming. A good marketing plan lays out clearly defined objectives that make it easy to identify the tasks that need to be done, as well as the timelines necessary for completing those tasks.

A marketing plan aligns your marketing with your business goals and objectives
There are various mediums through which your firm can engage in marketing. With so many options available for your firm to engage with the target audience, the trick is to know which ones make sense. A sound marketing plan will help you determine what should be done and what should be ignored. This will keep your employees focused on work that matters - work that accomplishes your firm’s goals and objectives.

A marketing plan ensures monitoring your Work-In-Progress (WIP)
A regular evaluation of your marketing plan is essential. This will ensure that you are following it, and to check that what you are following has not been rendered redundant by market changes. This doesn’t mean that your plan should only be reviewed once a year, but rather, as a working document, referred to whenever you have a marketing decision to make and revise it whenever you notice a change in your market or firm.

A marketing plan simplifies evaluating new opportunities
In an ever changing world, it is a given that new opportunities will present themselves from time to time. It might be as simple as a new marketing or advertising channel, or as big as a new market sector that’s opening. The question to ask here is: are the opportunities good for you? A marketing plan will prove invaluable in these situations as it will give you the criteria to evaluate them and determine if they make sense for your firm.

A marketing plan enables measurement
A marketing plan gives you an outline to measure your efforts. A great advantage of modern marketing is that almost all aspects are easily measurable. You can keep track of the number of followers on Social Media, email click-through rate, banner clicks, website traffic and newsletter open/read rate. By itself, the data does not mean a lot, but if put together in a marketing plan it makes sense. A marketing plan gives you the ability to evaluate all the data and determine if your efforts are moving you towards your goals.

The value of a marketing plan far outweighs any investment you make to create one and the benefits will last for years. If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, we highly suggest you develop one.

For more information contact Francois Pretorius at
Posted on March 18, 2016
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

One objection that professionals commonly make when approaching business development is that they want to be legal or accounting or medical professionals, not sales professionals. Most reluctant rainmakers dread anything that looks or feels like sales, and painting the process of business development with a sales brush is the kiss of death for many professionals. But here is the good news: rainmaking is not about selling.
Selling is typically the process (to sceptical professionals, at least) of convincing unsuspecting buyers that they need to purchase something. It is creating demand for a product or service, or creating demand for a specific source of a product or service. Although almost everyone enjoys buying things and services on a regular basis, most people dislike being sold to, which in turn creates resistance to selling. Throw in many professionals’ concept of the practice of law, accounting or medicine as more of a profession and less of a business (a view that seems somewhat anachronistic today, though to the delight of those who still see it as a calling or profession and not merely a vocation, it lingers), and it is easy to see why some professionals reject anything that looks or feels like a sales pitch.

Most professionals are able to identify how their work benefits their clients, but Rainmaking, however, may make a professional feel like the stereotypical used car salesman foisting his services on an uninterested public. It is actually a simple perspective shift. One- on-one client development is the process of finding a match between a professional and his or her potential client.

In everyday usage, the term "Rainmaker" can apply to anyone - from the salesperson who always finishes first in sales to the engineer who consistently finds innovative ways to present a company's products. In the purest sense, a rainmaker is a “difference maker”.

Rainmakers do two things well:
Firstly, they generate leads for new business. That is, they go out and create opportunities to talk with prospective clients about problems they can help solve. True rainmakers do not just wait for the phone to ring; they go out and find business

Secondly, they turn a portion of these leads into new business with their selling skills. To be true rainmakers, they must generate enough business to keep many others in their firms employed.

Other professionals may do one or the other of these things, but they do not do both. They are best at minding clients and grinding out work.
Compiled by Karlien Theart
Compiled by Karlien Theart

Almost everyone with a professional service or business will be on the lookout for providers of responsive websites. It is essential after all: one design for the BlackBerry, another for the iPhone, the iPad, Kindle — and all screen resolutions must be compatible. As technology continues to develop, so will the media industry need to keep up with the requirements that go along with micro updates; and with development follows a wide variety of new platforms aiming to take on the new challenges of our digital age.
In the field of web design and development it can become quite a difficult exercise to keep up with the endless new resolutions, platforms and devices. Creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impractical or, needless to say, almost impossible. Should clients suffer the consequences of losing visitors from one device, for the benefit of gaining visitors from another? Will the statistics be ignored for the desire to remain with comfortable methods? Or is there another option?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of grids, tables and layouts, images, and an intelligent use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad to mobile device, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. The website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences, without altering the logical sequence and display of the content. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.

Finally we realize that the Internet took off quicker than anyone would have predicted. For the past few years, mobile growth has become a primary source for web browsing and Internet usage. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t own a mobile device, or multiple devices, connected to the Internet.

With the growth in mobile Internet usage comes the question of how to build websites suitable for all users. With the approach to RWD, we can make things more flexible. Images can be automatically adjusted, and we have new solutions so that layouts never break. While it’s not a complete fix, the solution gives us far more options. It’s perfect for devices that switch from portrait orientation to landscape in an instant or for when users switch from a large computer screen to an iPad or simply adjust between orientations on the same device.

If SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a core element of your digital marketing strategy, having a platform-friendly website is essential. It is only logical that mobile search will overtake desktop search at some point in the near future as well.

To make it all simple and easy to understand, here are the basic benefits of RWD:
- Pages look great and consistent at any size
- It is cost effective
- It is recommended by Google
- It is easy to manage

RWD, originally defined by Ethan Marcotte in A List Apart, is saving us from frustration. RWD is best for the user. Every custom solution makes for a better user experience. With RWD we can create custom solutions for a wider range of users, on a wider range of devices.

A website can be tailored for someone on an old laptop or device as well as it can for the vast majority of people on the latest gadgets around, and likewise for the few users who own the most advanced gadgets now and in the years to come. RWD creates a great custom experience for everyone. But it seems that, without defining the term RWD, we strive for the purpose of digital flexibility on a daily basis, regardless of the rules or requirements.
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

For the last twenty years the word “rainmaker” has pushed its way into the professional industry and forecast changes for many professionals and how they make a living, rise through the ranks in a firm and measure success in private practice. A few hard facts have risen during this time:

Besides billable hours, challenging clients and long hours, the pressing need to bring in business and be a Rainmaker is an element of how success is measured for most professionals.
The need to successfully acquire new clients and generate business is critical to getting ahead in a large firm or in making a small firm profitable.

Ethical marketing or rainmaking is a necessary component of success. Unfortunately, it wasn’t part of the curriculum at any university and now most professionals are confused and frustrated about how to accomplish this task.

Generating fees and new clients is a large part of how successful and profitable a small practice will be for advancement and salary hierarchy of any professional firm. If the goal is to take your practice and career to the next level an integral component of that success is how effectively you bring in the business.

It is no longer enough to be a good or average practitioner; successful partners need a host of skills to survive and thrive in the complicated world of business.

Many partners are ushered out the door of firms every day because they cannot pull their weight. Firms split, partners are asked for capital contributions, associates and partners depart or are let go because there is not enough fee-generating business to go around.

The partner or practitioner that can become an essential, vital member of the firm is typically the one who can “bring in the business”. This ability has become critical for the professional in a modern professional practice and, if successful, that person becomes indispensable to the firm.

Professionals who can bring in new business have more professional security and options than those who cannot. Professionals who are able to land new clients and new matters are unlikely to be laid off: doing so would be against a firm’s economic interest.

Those who do not bring in new business and new clients (and who choose not to learn) may succeed in good economic times, but they are quickly cast aside when the economy becomes difficult, and they typically have trouble finding a new job without any ability to bring in business to support themselves.

The arrogance of expecting that technical skill alone will be sufficient to build a lasting practice is too often followed by the anguish of discovering that skill is not enough.

Regardless of the size of your firm, you are secure in your practice only to the extent that you can bring in clients to fill it. Professionals who know how to bring in clients succeed in practice.

Obviously, there are a multitude of ways to generate business, and what works for one professional or firm may not be a viable mechanism for another. Despite the many changes affecting the life of a professional, the need to create a consistent supply of quality, fee-paying clients remains a constant. The challenge is finding a way to connect with these prospective clients and convert them to viable clients. The good news is that there are many prospective clients that need and want your help.
Posted in | Tagged
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

How does the successful rainmaker differ from the unsuccessful rainmaker? How does a person become a rainmaker? Where do you learn the skills? How do professionals and business owners become great rainmakers? Is it possible to remain professional and avoid the stigma of being a “salesperson”? What is the secret to acquiring new clients and generating new business? How do those who do it well make it happen? Where did they learn how? How do I bring in the clients I want rather than taking everyone that walks in the door? How can I be a great businessman and have the stream of clients I need to be successful? Where do I start? Rainmaking is not about mastering sales tools or learning marketing theory.

It is about taking control. Taking control of your practice and your future, realising your vision and helping clients realise theirs. A successful rainmaker understands that generating business is critical to success and has learned how to acquire the desired clients needed to be successful. Rainmaking isn’t about the number of hours it takes, the type of personality you have or how good a practitioner you are, and it certainly isn’t about transforming practitioners into salespeople.

Rainmaking is about the actions necessary to consistently connect with prospective clients and generate new business, on purpose.

The bad news for most professionals is that generating business is no longer optional, it is a mandatory requirement for creating and maintaining a successful practice, making partner and succeeding to higher levels in your career.

This can be a frustrating undertaking for several reasons, not the least of which is because rainmaking, marketing, generating business or whatever we choose to call it, wasn’t something taught during our studies.

The good news is that most professionals already possess the skills necessary to succeed in these endeavours and with a little help and guidance can achieve the desired result of thriving successful practice, promotion and economic success.

It seems, though, that distinct and identifiable patterns and behaviours emerge when distinguishing the successful rainmaker from the unsuccessful. These are essentially traits that the successful rainmakers possess that set them apart from those that have not achieved the desired level of success. Three specific items are common to all successful rainmakers: they are mindset, goals and activity or action.
Posted in | Tagged
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

As we look ahead into 2016, following are the trends that we anticipate will be the current state of the professional services marketing arena in SA as we see it today. Digital marketing has over the last few years undergone substantial transformation in this particular industry, becoming an increasingly important medium for creating awareness, positioning and an online brand experience. Just like any field that relies on communication technologies, online marketing is rapidly developing in some directions and departing from others, rendering some traditional marketing practices obsolete. What is in store for digital marketers in the upcoming year?

Digital marketing becomes a necessity
There is no denying it:, the marketing world is rapidly shifting to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and professional service firms that have not yet recognised this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast. Why is digital marketing so important? Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms altogether.

Client engagement will be a key measure
As this industry does not rely on advertising and promotions to generate leads, client engagement with digital marketing becomes the primary marketing objective. The more that clients engage and interact with your digital marketing, the more loyal they become, the more you will generate leads and increase positive word of mouth. Measuring client engagement and providing insight into the success of your digital marketing efforts will become a vital marketing activity this coming year.

Rise of content marketing
The popularity of content marketing strategies will continue unabated into the upcoming year, which essentially means that marketers will abandon the traditional and generic digital marketing tactics in favour of creating more relevant and inspiring content. Instead of relying too much on generic content, firms will have to pay more attention to customer experience, client engagement and curate content in a more emphatic, client-oriented way.

Personalised means better – Professional service firms want users to interact with their content, and what better way to achieve that than through providing something relevant? By offering personalised content during the past year, companies were able to increase the number of sales, lower the costs of operation, inspire users to stay longer on their websites and foster customer satisfaction. Personalisation is expected to become a widely adopted practice in 2016, leading to the growth of stronger 1-to-1 marketing.

Going mobile all the way
In our client engagement statistics during 2015 we have seen a huge growth in mobile engagement;nearly 25% of all clients were engaging with content on mobile platforms. People use mobile devices all day long and in various contexts, allowing marketers to target them in a longer stretch of time and during different phases of the day – at work, during rest or play. The most important factor to keep in mind this year will be the enabling or adaptation of digital content to be viewed and read on mobile devices, called “responsiveness”.

Responsive web designs
Responsive web design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it is being viewed on. As the web continues to evolve it is becoming ever more clear that the main driver to a website is not fancy eye candy, but solid, valuable, and shareable content. Responsive design explores the implications of limited screen real estate and ease of access not only for structure, but forces us to consider our messaging and content on-site by adopting a ‘mobile first’ strategy.

In order to stay effective in your marketing in 2016, online marketing strategies should immediately respond to the preferences and behaviours of their targeted audiences and follow clients in their daily use of the web and mobile.
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

What happens once you have a clear idea of where you want to take your business and need a carefully crafted business and marketing plan? At the beginning of the year it is always good management practice to think about developing a clear, concise marketing strategy to help you achieve your marketing objectives. If you already have a marketing strategy, given the significant changes in the economic landscape in South Africa over the past year, it is also a good idea to revisit your strategy to check for relevance. You may well have been treading water for the past year or so in terms of marketing activity. But during this time, how far have you deviated from your initial marketing strategy in order to survive? And how do you get back on track?

Being marketing consultants, whether developing a marketing strategy from scratch, or helping clients find their way back to where they want to be, we ask our clients to think about four specific key areas:

Identify how much your competitive landscape has changed. Have any new competitors emerged? If so, what are the services they are offering? How have your existing competitors changed in how they tackle this new geography? Understanding how your existing and new competitors are looking to tackle the new landscape of 2016 will help you better position yourself in the market and ultimately better compete against all competitors.

Re-examine your target markets. Time spent researching any changes amongst your target market in buying trends will give you a clear picture of who your customers are, what influences their buying decisions and what changes they are facing. Again, a clear understanding of your customers will enable you to position yourself appropriately and compete more effectively.

How relevant are your services? Whilst you may have been chasing every sale at all costs in recent times - and understandably so - this can sometimes dilute the unique set of benefits you are able to offer. Rewriting your positioning statement can be a very useful way to make sure you are clear about what you offer, to who, and why people should buy from you. Being clear about what you offer makes it easier to communicate your particular benefits to your chosen target markets, making for more effective marketing.

Are you doing enough to increase awareness and positioning? Effective marketing has the potential to build incredible value for professional firms, both small and large. That being said, branding and creating awareness has become a vital and an integral part of a professional firm's overall success in the highly competitive marketplace. To brand your firm is to differentiate it (or make your firm stand out) from the rest. Utilising the right marketing instrument will help you to have a “voice”, it will create a presence or indicate an influential authority in your industry and in the overall marketplace.

Without clients your business would not survive. To attract and retain clients your firms needs to understand the value of structured marketing. Many smaller professional firms do not place enough importance on marketing planning. Use 2016 to make a difference in this strategy of your firm.
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

More than ever, professional service firms are under pressure to negotiate on price, to give the best deal possible, a “credit crunch special.” With the current economic instability in South Africa this will become a norm rather than an isolated occurrence. There are numerous tried and tested strategies for dealing with the all too common obstacle of price, with the general consensus being to steer your potential customer away from price towards a discussion about value. But here’s the problem: it is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

As strategic marketing consultants, we find that many professional firms struggle to correctly identify a value proposition that will be sufficiently appealing to their buyer. What your customers value and what they are actually prepared to pay for a particular service is often different. The question is: how do we bridge this gap?

The most important thing is to determine what your clients REALLY need and what is important to them. Most of the time there is a discrepancy between what we think they want and what they REALLY value. And remember – each client has their OWN expectations, and this is very important. Determine and identify what your clients consider to be value for money. Only with an understanding of what is important to your clients you can really start to create a valid value proposition that will be credible and resonate amongst your target market. It is also important not to assume that most clients believe they are purchasing something of value and are willing to pay for something as a “fair equivalent” for their money. What they are really looking for is “value-added”, in other words “good value”.

The better you understand their needs and their expectations, the easier it becomes to EXCEED their expectations and that is when you add value and when something becomes “value for money”.

Whatever the price point you set, your customers need to believe that that what they are buying is actually worth more to them than what they are paying. In other words, when you come to define - or indeed, redefine - your value proposition, try to find things you can offer to add exclusive yet highly relevant value - all included in your very reasonable price! Once you have done this, you need to make sure you communicate these elements to your clients to further reinforce your value proposition.

By taking the time to think about just what your customers value and how you can build that into your proposition, you can protect your pricing, stave of competitors and keep your customers coming back for more!

Posted in Client Service | Tagged Value
Posted on July 10, 2015
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

As a service professional, the challenge is always to make yourself and your firm stand out from the crowd. Are you or your firm in the target markets’ frame of reference when they require the specific services you or your firm offer? Are you “top of mind”?

A common mistake that service professionals make, is to view themselves as experts purely based on their knowledge, experience or expertise. Almost by definition, most professional services firms have some level of specialised expertise. In some cases there are individuals within the firm who can legitimately be thought of as experts, but in most cases the professionals are generalist or at best specialists. While many professionals may be well known to their colleagues inside the firm or even within their respective professions, they remain largely unknown to the larger community of potential clients.

There are, however, a tiny minority of professionals out there that attracts the unfair percentage of the industry’s attention. Their colleagues love them, businesses seek them out for their knowledge and wisdom and they are renowned in the realms of digital and print media for strong opinions on relevant matters. While they may not be household names, these professionals are widely known and admired by their peers. They are sought after. They are regularly featured in local publications, at seminars or conferences. These individuals are widely recognised as experts, and their success is no accident.

How can you position yourself as an expert and achieve broader awareness and recognition in the marketplace you serve? The following are the three key elements at play to become a visible and recognised expert.

1. Knowledge
The first and most important key to being an expert is your knowledge. Whether you specialise in a service or particular issue, your knowledge, expertise and experience commands influence amongst colleagues, peers and your specific target audience. Your knowledge is a key attribute and makes people turn to you for trusted advice and opinion. Whereas a generalist knows something about everything, the specialist or true expert knows a whole lot more than the average professional about a specific field or practice area.

Expertise is built on both formal credentials and the stature of your accomplishments. Most specialists narrowed their service offering by focusing on their own areas of strengths and passions. It is therefore important that you not only build up experience and credentials in a specific field or subject matter, but that you also apply this expertise to specific topics or issues relating to the target market. If your perspective is particularly insightful or provocative it tends to gain traction in the marketplace. Being known as a specialist is the first step in becoming an expert.

2. Personality
Most traditional professionals tend to provide conventional and widely accepted perspectives on topics that are of little immediate interest to their target audience. Their opinion on these matters does little to distinguish them as experts. The second key factor to becoming an expert is to adopt a strong personality. An expert is always actively looking to address complex and controversial issues and the target audience welcomes their expert opinion and perspective. It is important to have the courage, conviction and consistency to address relevant and controversial issues. The expert does not back down from publicly raising their opinion about relevant matters and actively stimulating and engaging in conversations.

3. Publicity
The last key component to be recognised as an expert is that of publicity. An expert without the necessary visibility amongst the target audience will always only remain a specialist. Publicity and visibility are important components to help you build your reputation of being an expert amongst your audiences of interest. Visibility is boosted by the range of places you are seen. If you are active on social media, easily found via search engines, well known in relevant trade associations and often quoted in trade press, you are well on your way to target exceptional audience visibility. As an expert, you need to use a wide array of tools to boost your reputation and express your opinion of relevant issues. With the emergence of various digital marketing tools, it is easier than ever before to build and boost your reputation. You could use any of the following tools to increase your visibility:

• A dedicated or personal website (or microsite)
• Complete and updated LinkedIn profile
• Professional photography for your profile
• Personal biographies in various lengths
• Videos overviewing your expertise or sampling your speaking skills
• Blog posts to regularly express your opinion on relevant or controversial issues
• Position papers or white papers on specific industry related matters
• Newspaper or journal articles
• Research papers
• Books and e-books

By combining your knowledge and personality and by actively engaging in publicity to increase your visibility you are well on your way, as a service professional, to establishing yourself as an Expert. It’s all about focus, careful planning and genuine expertise. If you do it well, the rewards can accelerate not only a career, but also an entire firm.
Posted on July 8, 2015
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

When looked upon the first time, the link between employee motivation and performance seems to be quite obvious. That is because every time when we deem a task to be important and valuable to us, we act with a high level of dedication and enthusiasm to its completion. However, the relationship between these two factors are in fact much more complex. Realistically speaking, the duties we have at work can be most of the time tedious, repetitive and quite boring. With that in mind, owners of professional firms need to find creative ways in which to consistently keep their employees motivated. Benefits of motivating your staff include:

• Motivation is generally what energises, maintains and controls behaviour, it acts as a stimulus for desirable actions.

• Raising Employee Efficiency - An employee’s efficiency level is not strictly related to his/her abilities and qualifications. In order to get the very best results, an employee needs to have a perfect balance between ability and willingness. Such balance can lead to an increase in productivity, lower operational costs, and an overall improvement in efficiency, and can only be achieved through motivation.

• Team Harmony – A proper work environment focused on cooperative relationships is highly important for a firms’ success. Not only can it bring stability and profits, but employees will also adapt more easily to changes, which is ultimately in the firms’ benefit.

• Workforce Stability – Stability of the personnel is highly important from a business point of view. Staff will stay loyal to the firm only when they experience a sense of participation. The abilities and potency of staff can be used in their own advantage, but also to the benefit of the firm.

• Lower levels of absenteeism as the employees are content with their working environment.

• Lower levels of staff turnover.

• This can lead to lower training and recruitment costs.

• Content employees give the firm a good reputation – making it easier to recruit the best staff.

If you wish to inspire your personnel, then you need to provide an environment that exudes positive energy. Ensure that all your workers feel that they are an integral contributor to the overall team success. Keep your doors open and keep yourself approachable.
Posted on July 8, 2015
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

Today’s professional services marketplace is undergoing considerable change as it adjusts to the introduction of various online marketing tools. While many firms still prefer traditional lead generation techniques such as face-to-face networking, client referrals and sponsorships, recent trends have shown a rapid change in the way buyer select professional services. Firms that ignore these changes do so at their own risk.

The challenge that professional services firms face is that the sales process is more complex than that of the retailers or wholesales. Other than creating awareness by advertising a product at a certain price, making it easy for prospects to evaluate value and quality, professional services have a much harder job to attract the interest of prospective buyers and get them to make contact. Besides having to create awareness, other elements come into play when generating leads: visibility, building trust, educating and nurturing the lead. If any of these elements are neglected, the firm will struggle to convert leads into business.

Lead generation therefore become a process that requires a well-crafted plan. The centerpiece of that plan is a structured lead generation process. When you get it right it will result in a steady flow of qualified leads that result in prime clients.

What is a lead generation process?
A lead generation process describes how you identify, nurture and qualify potential new clients — culminating eventually in a request for proposal. It consists of three components: a) Generating the “raw” lead; b) Nurturing the lead and c) Qualifying the lead. Once a lead shows interest, the partners or sales team still need close the deal through needs analysis, education, and building trust. All three components are critical and many firms stumble because they neglect one of the three.

Start with a well-crafted plan
Lead generation will be effective when it is managed according to a plan. Your plan should address the following aspects:

1. Identifying your target client
The biggest stumbling block for firms is that their target clients are overly broad and they see everyone as their target market. The less specific you are, the more difficult it will be to generate qualified leads. Try to identify the particular type of issue you are best prepared to solve.

2. Know your target client group
Most firms skip this step and do very little to do research about the target clients. Try to learn as much as you can about the challenges and concerns they face, where they turn for help, and what their expectations and questions are.

3. Determine clear qualifying criteria
How do you know when a lead is qualified? Some firms look at budget or perhaps the prospect’s need for a specific services. Other criteria can be: Frustration with their current service provider, perception of value, one stop service needs or specialised service needs.

4. Determinethe specific sequence of lead nurturing
Very often leads show interest, but are not yet ready to make a decision to buy or move from their existing service provider. Consider what sort of information they might be interested in today that would set them up to be a client in the future. How can you begin to establish trust and build rapport now? Monthly electronic newsletters are effective lead nurturing approaches to move early-stage prospects through the pipeline.

Identify online and traditionaltechniques
Online lead generation techniques are gaining rapid ground as they are often less expensive than the more traditional techniques. Here are a few online and traditional techniques to consider:

Online Techniques Traditional Techniques
• Lead generating website
• Search engine optimization(SEO)
• Pay per click advertising (PPC)
• Blogging
• Online white papers, ebooks, kits and guides
• Online networking (social media)
• Online video & webinars
• e-newsletters
• email marketing
• Referrals
• Industry networking events
• Advertising in trade publications
• Speaking engagements
• Articles, white papers and books
• Cold calling
• Trade shows
• Seminars
• Public speaking engagements

6. Track all leads
How will you know if your lead generation process is working? The only way to know for sure is to track a few key variables. Here are some ideas:

• Track lead generation activities. These are the things you do to generate and nurture leads.
• Track the costs associated with each activity.
• Track the number of leads generated by each activity.
• Track leads that convert to proposals for each activity (conversion percentage).
• Track proposals that convert into clients (closing percentage) for each lead source.
• Calculate the cost per client for each source.

Without a plan and a data collection system, it is very easy to cling to tactics that no longer work. Follow these six key steps and your chances of generating qualified leads that turn into profitable clients are greatly improved.
Posted on July 8, 2015
Compiled by Ben vd Westhuyzen
Compiled by Ben van der Westhuyzen

In my opinion internal marketing is almost as important as external marketing. It may be a cliché, but your internal staff are your business, they are a big part of your brand. It is important that each and every employee needs to understand the firm’s direction and vision and really believe and live the brand. A romantic statement, but if they’re not passionate about your brand it will show in their work.

It is probably self-explanatory, however internal marketing is about treating your staff as your customers and communicating clearly, selling the vision of the firm to them. You can take it as far as you want, but at the very least the firm’s strategic objectives and team strategies must be communicated and visible within the firm; this gives everyone direction – and something to be part of.

What’s the purpose of practicing internal marketing?

Internal marketing offers the following benefits:

• It ensures that staff effectively buy in to what the firm wants to achieve and are more effective at what they do.

• Informed staff are usually “engaged” staff – there is a purpose to work for.

• Happy staff equals happy customers.

• Internal marketing helps firms deliver better customer service.

• Employees feel more motivated and experience higher job satisfaction.

• They are empowered to make decisions within certain guidelines and begin to feel more respected and valued for their contributions.

• This feeling leads to a greater sense of belonging to the “team” as well as responsibility and accountability to employers.

• Staff conflict wanes and people have better dispositions at work.

• Firms benefit from higher employee satisfaction and retention.

• Increased compliance with standards and protocols

Now, who wouldn’t want to work for a firm with a culture like the above? And what does it really require? Openness, flexibility, and a desire to do things better for better results. It’s a mindset.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

Posted on July 8, 2015
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

In professional services marketing, research shows LinkedIn is the most effective social network for online networking, producing referral traffic and generating qualified leads. Research also shows that professional services firms with the highest growth place the most focus on LinkedIn out of all the major social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Google+).

Many professionals use LinkedIn on a fundamental and basic level. You may have created your profile, joined a few groups, connected with friends and colleagues, and checked who has viewed your profile or recruited professionals for your firm. These are all helpful techniques, but the challenge is to take your LinkedIn efforts to the next level. Here are two strategies to consider:

1.Use LinkedIn as a top promotional outlet of quality content

You have probably built up a LinkedIn page, included your levels of expertise, firm info, services and brand promise. You’ve given the visitor a clear picture of who you and your firm is. This is a good start. But in order to fully leverage LinkedIn, you need to think of it as one of your top promotional outlets of quality content. This means sharing and promoting your content, events and thought leadership across LinkedIn – including in groups and across employees’ profiles as much as possible. The goal, of course, is to have your LinkedIn referral traffic convert – to sign up for a newsletter, register for an event, download an article, or take an action that moves potential leads further along the sales funnel. This benefits your firm as you grow your email list and LinkedIn followers, but also benefits the user as they receive relevant, educational material. How do you know what to share? Think of it this way: you can share and promote anything on LinkedIn that you might also share through email marketing or on your website. Leveraging more than one channel will increase your conversions, website traffic, and develop your brand’s online reputation and visibility.

2. Increase your activity in groups

It is not enough to passively join a LinkedIn group of many members. This is like being the tiniest voice in a huge crowd. You will get the most return on your LinkedIn investment if you increase your commitment to group participation – and do so by choosing groups where you can increase your visibility. How can you increase group participation? Become one of the “top contributors” to a group.

The goal is to start captivating discussions and contribute thought-provoking comments that encourage responses. Those who initiate the most interaction are more likely to become a top contributor. And the more interaction you take part in, the higher your visibility – both for you as an individual and for your firm. The second aspect of visibility within a group is to choose the right sized group. Choosing the right sized group depends on your firm, of course. We’ve found that groups with a few hundred to a few thousand members to be the most beneficial. You see substantial interaction with other professionals in your industry, but the group isn’t so large that your discussion thread becomes lost after two hours.

LinkedIn is much more than a social media hub for seeing who has viewed your profile (yes, we’re all guilty). By leveraging this networking platform as a place to cross-share all your marketing activities and content and thoughtfully increasing group activity, you can substantially increase your LinkedIn ROI.

Posted on July 8, 2015
Compiled by Francois Pretorius
Compiled by Francois Pretorius

When clients turn out to be a headache rather than a value to your business, it's time to consider letting them go. Abusive clients or those with excessive demands who are not bringing your firm significant revenue are a drain on firm resources and morale and may prevent you from focusing on your more profitable clients. Showing unwanted clients the door allows you to focus on those clients who are actually worth your business's time.

Talk with the client
Let the unwanted client know where he or she stands. Sometimes you may be able to salvage a relationship if you let the client know that the relationship is not considered mutually beneficial. Your client will either leave on his own accord or try to repair the relationship if he considers it worth salvaging. For example, a late-paying client may start getting payments in on time if he really likes your firm's products or services.

Let the client down gently
If you have no intentions of keeping the client, let them go, especially if the client is abusive to your staff. You'll improve employee morale for cutting ties with a client who makes a habit of belittling anyone in your firm. However, if the client is just a resource drain, offer other businesses that may be able to give the client what they seek. You want to sever relationships that are not mutually beneficial as painlessly as possible so the client will have options to look elsewhere for similar legal services. Helping facilitate a smooth transition for these types of clients will leave a much better impression of your firm than simply asking the client to leave. You may even get a referral for handling the separation with empathy and tact.

Aid the transition
If the client does have an interest in doing business with one of your referrals, notify that business of what it should expect. If the business your unwanted client is being referred to agrees to take him on, the firm may be able to start off on the right note with that client by paying attention to certain cues. Sometimes it's all about relationships. What may be a headache of a client for your firm may be a gem of a client to another.

Once you've gotten rid of your unwanted clients, you'll want to evaluate what things your firm can change to eliminate or lessen the potential of acquiring these types of clients in future. Maybe you need to increase fees, set new late-payment deadlines or outline a clearer policy for client-employee interaction. Make the necessary adjustments so your business can get back to exceeding the expectations of those clients who do a superior job of keeping your firm afloat.

Compiled by Emmerentia Fick
Compiled by Emmerentia Fick

From a digital marketing point of view, there is a significant difference between an electronic newsletter and an electronic campaign. In short, an electronic campaign is more focused on communicating a single message with a specific call to action whereas an electronic newsletter will focus on a number of topics and is more centered on educating and informing clients, which in turn, builds rapport and loyalty.

Newsletters present firms with a great opportunity. When you offer your readers real value, they will reciprocate by offering you a slice of their attention. It therefore makes sense to keep newsletters separate from your campaigns.

A good newsletter will include the following:

• Added value articles which informs the client about subjects they may be interested in. This provides links back to the website where they can read the complete articles – thereby spending more time on your blog.

• Information them about upcoming events that may be of interest and that your firm is involved in.

• Announcements on a new service you are introducing.

• Testimonials from a recent client you have worked with or a case study.

• Ways that people can connect with your business on social media so that you can maintain engagement.

• Good call to actions that tell the readers what to do next i.e. read more here, register here, to learn more etc.

When creating this content, you need to be focused on giving your clients information that informs, entertains, adds value and ultimately answers their questions.

A successful marketing campaign, on the other hand, is well-thought-out, focused on details and embodies the following characteristics:

Clear and single-minded. The core message, regardless of the media platform, is easy to understand and based on one core insight.

Relevant. When exposed to the campaign, people in the target audience feel that "It is for people like me."

Tangible. The call to action is clear, so people know right away what you are asking them to do.

Emotional. In most cases, information alone is not inherently motivating. Effective campaigns appeal to people’s emotions as much if not more than their rational side.

Campaigns that are clear, relevant, action-oriented, and emotional are more likely to have the desired effect—in most cases, to influence people to change a behavior that benefits themselves, their families, or their community. Here are some key numbers to remember when embarking on an electronic campaign:

40 percent of the impact of the campaign comes from sending it to the right client database in the first place. A well develop and segmented mailing list is vital. Segmentation is the process of dividing a market segment into distinct manageable groups of clients that are likely to behave in a similar manner or share a similar set of needs or characteristics. Audiences are influenced in different ways by different types of content. If you offer numerous service, or are targeting more than one group, then it makes sense to divide your audience into small segments so that you can market specific services to specific groups, or craft your message to suit the characteristics of the different segments. Although segmenting your list takes more time and effort, it does not need to be a daunting task. Even the most basic segmenting will result in significantly higher conversion rates.

40 percent comes from the value of the offer. The engagement process can begin when you offer something of value to the client. By giving clients something that they deem to have worth, you are building trust from the beginning and positioning yourself as an authority figure. Ask for something in return. Sometimes you might want to provide something of value to clients in exchange for submitting some simple information that can be used to build your marketing list.

20 percent comes from the design or writing of the piece. A campaign is normally in a different format than your newsletter. You need to create a direct message with a strong offer that will spur the recipient to action. What do you want the recipient to do next? Your goal is to get action and not just to inform. You can get creative with catchy wording and graphics. Your goal is to get the reader to respond.

Lastly, always remember to analyse the results of the campaign. Here are a few important questions to ask: Did the final results match what you expected? What parts of the demographic responded better than expected? Are there subsets of your target audience that you can focus on in future mailings?

Where newsletters aim to increase awareness and strengthen positioning, every campaign you run aims to contribute not only to your turn over figures but also to enhancing your client database. Using both as part of your marketing plan, will surely benefit your overall marketing ROI.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

Posted in Business Relations | Tagged Sample
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe
Compiled by Tobie van der Merwe

Traditionally, lead generation was centered on cold calling, chasing referrals and active networking. Even though there is still a place for these tried and tested lead generation techniques, the emergence of online marketing platforms have however dramatically changed the way firms attract new clients. There is a major change in consumer behavior and the way they use technology to find potential service providers. Recent research studies have shown that about 80% of people (potential clients) use online platforms like websites, blogs and videos to search out and learn more about a firm before making contact. Potential clients go online to educate themselves around a specific need they have, find potential firms that can address those needs and to check out those firms to see if they are a suitable option as service provider. As professional services firms adjust their marketing tactics to generate leads through online platforms, it is important to ask this question: Who is our target market? By asking this question, we can adjust our marketing approach, focus and message in order to attract better quality leads.

If you want to grow your firm faster and be more profitable, one of the key disciplines you need to master is better client targeting. A well-defined and well-understood target market helps you align your marketing tools and marketing message for better lead generation. Here are seven key questions you must be able to answer positively to maximise the positive impact of client targeting.

1. Have you analysed your existing clients to determine how to define your best target marget?
Your current clients are usually the best place to start when defining your ideal target market. Aspect to consider are profitability, compatibility with your firm and team and long term loyalty. In short, you are looking for what is already working. This step will help you make sure you are targeting the right type of clients.

2. Do you understand their problems, concerns, hopes and daily reality?
This is a challenging question, but really pay dividends when well thought through. Many firms only focus on demographics (age, geographics, income levels, etc.). Try to put yourself in the clients’ shoes to understand what feelings and needs drive their buying behaviour. When you understand the pressures and problems your target market is experiencing, you can develop service offerings that will make their lives easier.

3. Can you get specific about your target market?
If you have sufficient information to describe your target clients in detail, you are more likely to find and attract qualified prospects. This knowledge will help your entire marketing program – from brand development to your marketing plan. Questions 2 and 3 will help you to create a suitable message when communicating via email marketing, your website or newsletters.

4. Do you conduct research on your clients to anticipate their needs and uncover trends?
Formal, systematic and structured research (not to be confused with the “informal research” many of us do on our clients) will put you in a position to understand the trends affecting your clients. The importance of research is often overlooked. Formal research allows you to anticipate what services your target market is likely to need and therefore position yourself to offer those services in advance of your competitors. This is more pro-active approach than constantly reacting to the market.

5. Can you identify the best channels to communicate with your target market?
The previous questions focused on developing better targeting and a more focused message. By answering this question you will be able to better deliver that message. Where do your target clients get their information? Which blogs do they read? What associations do they belong to? If you don’t know the answer to these questions you will be less effective reaching your best prospects.

6. Does your firm have credibility with your target market?
Without credibility, you will struggle to attract attention and interest. Building credibility takes time. Start by ensuring that you create quality website and blog content. Also consider using case studies, client references and personal branding of directors or partners.

7. Have they heard of your firm?
This final point addresses visibility. You may have a great reputation, but if only a few people in your target market have heard of your firm, you will have limited traction. Visibility is one of the easier problems to solve if you understand your specific target well, have a credible and informative message, and understand where your customers turn for information.

Make the time and effort to identify and know your target market. It is the starting point for more effective lead generation and lead nurturing plan.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.
Posted in Client Service | Tagged sample, sample
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